What is the Biblical basis for the Holy Spirit being God, or where in the Bible does it say that the Holy Spirit is God?
The Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost is referred to nearly a hundred times in the New Testament, 45 times in the Acts of the Apostles and 53 times elsewhere. Our Lord Jesus, knowing he was about to leave his disciples, gave much teaching about the Holy Spirit just before his arrest (John 14-16).
The Holy Spirit is a person
The Watchtower teaches that the Holy Spirit is God’s force or power, something like electricity, and not a person. “An accurate translation of the Bible’s Hebrew text refers to God’s spirit as “God’s active force.” https://www.jw.org/en/library/magazines/g200607/Is-the-Holy-Spirit-a-Person/
It is valuable, therefore, to establish that the Holy Spirit is a person, and not just a force or power. The Scriptures show the Holy Spirit is a person because:
He is set alongside two other persons:-
“Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” 28:19). The Father is a person, the Son is a person, so the Holy Spirit must be a person.
Is referred to as “he” and not “it”:-
There are three genders in Greek, masculine, feminine, and neuter.
In John chapters 14 to 16 the Holy Spirit is spoken of as “the Comforter”. The Greek word for comforter is masculine so pronouns referring to “the Comforter” are “he”, “him”, masculine, as expected.
The Greek word for spirit is “pneuma” which is neuter: so we would expect the Spirit to be spoken of as “it”. But in John 16:13-14 the Spirit is referred to twice, not with the pronoun “it”, but with the emphatic masculine pronoun “ekeinos”, “he”:-
But when he (ekeinos), the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He (ekeinos) will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. (John 16:13-14)
William D. Mounce, chairman of the translation committee for the ESV and on the committee for the NIV, argues that the breaking of the grammatical agreement expected by native language readers is an indication of the author's intention to convey the personhood of the Holy Spirit. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_of_the_Holy_Spirit)
- Bears witness. In a court of law electricity cannot bear witness; only people can bear witness, not inanimate forces or powers.
But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. (John 15:26). See also Romans 8:16, Hebrews 10:15.
That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. (2 Timothy 1:14) See also John 14:16-17.
- Gives physical life
The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life. (Job 33:4)
- Gives spiritual life
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:6)
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Romans 8:26)
As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. (Acts 13:2). See also Acts 28:25, 1 Tim 4:1, Heb 3:7 and Rev 22:17.
- Hears and speaks
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. (John 16:13). - How could a force, like electricity, hear? Or speak?
- Can be lied to
But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? (Acts 5:3) - How can a force be lied to?
- Can be grieved
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Eph 4:30)
- Can be vexed
But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them. (Isaiah 63:10)
The Scriptures show the Holy Spirit is Divine, a member of the Godhead
Our Lord Jesus Christ was and is the Son of God, and yet Mary was found to be with child “of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 1:18-20). There are no intermediaries in the act of procreation!
Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
(Matthew 28:19). Take this together with Isaiah 42:8.
In some places, the deity of Christ is established and then the deity of the Holy Spirit in order to give honour to Him also. So in Hebrews 3:1-6 establishes the deity of Christ, and then Hebrews 3:7-19 establishes the deity of the Holy Spirit.
In many places the Scriptures draw attention to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit together.
a) In the beginning (Gen 1:1-3)
b) At our Lord’s baptism (Matthew 3:16-17, Luke 3:21-22)
c) In greetings at the start of letters (Romans 1:1-4; 2 Cor 1:21-22, 1 Thess 1:1-6; 1 Pet 1:2, 1 Pet 1:3-12)
d) In passages of teaching (Romans 14:17-18, 1 Cor 12:4-6, Eph 2:18, Eph 2:22, Eph 4:4-6, Titus 3:4-6, Hebrews 9:14)
e) Towards the end of letters (Romans 15:16, Romans 15:30, 2 Cor 13:14, Jude 19-21)
The believer in Christ is the temple of the Holy Spirit. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?(1 Corinthians 6:19) - Only God or false gods have temples, therefore the Holy Spirit is God. (See also 2 Cor 6:16).
Who did the Israelites tempt in the wilderness (eg Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 14:22, 20:13; Deuteronomy 1:35)? Who did they provoke? It was God as we read in Psalm 78: especially 78:18, 40, 56. It was God as we read in Psalm 95.
But in Hebrews we read the one speaking in Psalm 95 is the Holy Spirit.
Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said: They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath: They shall not enter into my rest.)
Thus, in the wilderness the one they tested/tempted was the Holy Spirit. It was the Holy Spirit whose miracles they saw, being fed and watered, they and their animals, forty years in an arid wilderness. It was the Holy Spirit who they grieved and who was angry with them, and who promised they would not enter into his rest. (Hebrews 3:7-11) Therefore the Holy Spirit is God.
The Scriptures are given by inspiration of God (2 Tim 3:16) but were given by holy men of God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21)
The Spirit searches the deep things of God because the Spirit of God is God.
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:11)
Just as a man’s spirit knows what is in a man, because a man’s spirit is the man, so God’s Holy Spirit knows what is in the mind of God because the Holy Spirit is God.
The Lord is the Spirit (2 Cor 3:17)
The Holy Spirit can be blasphemed against (Matthew 12:31-32, Mark 3:28-30). Only God can be blasphemed against.
The Holy Spirit has the attributes of God:
a) The Holy Spirit is everywhere
The Watchtower teaches that:-
Contrary to popular belief, God is not present everywhere at all times.
But, contrary to Watchtower belief, God is present everywhere at all times:
Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD (Jeremiah 23:24). See also 1 Kings 8:27, Proverbs 15:3, Ezekiel 8:12, Acts 17:28.
The Holy Spirit is also everywhere:-
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! (Psalm 139:7, ESV)
Therefore the Holy Spirit is God.
b) The Holy Spirit is eternal
how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God (Hebrews 9:4).